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Tenuta Belvedere – Tradition and Innovation in Oltrepò Pavese

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My first encounter with a wine bottle from Tenuta Belvedere was when I visited Fattoria di Fibbiano earlier this spring and Giuseppe Cantoni told me about his nephew making wine in Lombardia. Right then, I did not think much about it. However, this summer when I visited Fattoria di Fibbiano another time and heard Matteo Cantoni talk about his cousin Gianluca Cabrini producing wine in the Oltrepò Pavese area again, I became very curious. So I got the phone number and contacted Gianluca. I then had Gianluca and his wife Federica as guests at my #WinesOfItaly #LiveStream in the beginning of October and finally met them in person at the Autochtona wine event in Bolzano a month ago. I am very happy to have gotten to know them and, of course, to taste their wines. Last weekend I met with Federica and Gianluca from Tenuta Belvedere again in Milan and we went for dinner, so I felt very guilty for not having had time to finish this article. Anyway, finally I am done so read on to find out more about their winery and their wines…

Oltrepò Pavese, a wine area in Lombardy

The Oltrepò Pavese is an area situated south of Pavia, so to say ’on the other side of the Pò river’, in the south of Lombardy. Wine production in this area has deep historical roots as it can be traced back to the era of Plinius and Strabo. The Consorzio Tutela Vini Oltrepo Pavese says that it is the ‘agricultural soul’ as well as the main vine growing area in Lombardy today. This wine area contains 1 DOCG, 7 DOC, and 1 IGT denominations where the DOCG Oltrepò Pavese Metodo Classico (sparkling wine with the Champenoise method) and the DOC Bonarda dell’Oltrepò Pavese perhaps are the most well-known. At least for an outsider like me who still has a lot to learn and taste from this area. However, also the other DOCs Buttafuoco dell’Oltrepò Pavese, Casteggio, Oltrepò Pavese, Oltrepò Pavese Pinot Grigio, Pinot Nero dell’Oltrepò Pavese, and Sangue di Giuda dell’Oltrepò Pavese are important denominations.

Tenuta Belvedere - Tradition and Innovation in Oltrepó Pavese
Photo: Gianluca Cabrini

In this area, the Pinot Noir has its own specific character and place and it is used for the production of the Oltrepò Pavese Charmat and Metodo Classico wines. Pinot Noir can, however, also be vinified as a white wine which is done at Tenuta Belvedere with the Pinot Nero IGT Provincia di Pavia or be used for the production of red wines. Riesling, the so-called Italian Riesling, is an important grape variety for winemaking in the Oltrepò Pavese area. The Bonarda can create a bit of a confusion as it in Piemonte (bonarda piemontese) is a grape variety, while it here in this case in Oltrepò Pavese refers to the DOC Bonarda. The DOC Bonarda is produced with the grape varieties Croatina, Barbera, Uva rara, and Vespolina.

Tenuta Belvedere, a winery in Oltrepò Pavese

Having briefly described the Oltrepò Pavese territory, we will now focus on the Tenuta Belvedere winery itself which is situated in the Montecalvo district in this area. The winery dates back to the late 19th century, but it was only in the post-WW II period that the production became more quality and business oriented with the grandfather of Federica. It has thus always been a family run winery and continues to be so also today with Gianluca having taken over the main management together with Federica. What struck me already from the beginning when talking to Federica and Gianluca, is that they are very positive and dynamic people who are not afraid to try new things and ’adjust’ as they go. They are a young winery in the sense that they took over and re-started the family wine production a few years ago. Their mission is to try and mix new technology with traditional methods. Except for using new technology, they also have the goal of working more in line with Mother Nature and with an as low environmental impact as possible. They…

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